Award winners of the 23rd Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM)

Photo credit: Mk2

The award winners for this 23rd edition were announced at a virtual ceremony livestreamed on the festival’s Facebook page.


Aswang by Alyx Ayn Arumpac (Philippines, Denmark, France, Germany)

“For its gritty yet sophisticated approach to editing and its careful, compassionate camerawork, the jury has unanimously decided to honour a film that deals with subject matter that could easily have been hijacked by an exploitative attitude. This film succeeds, with heartfelt compassion, in bearing witness to the horrendous plight of the people of the Philippines, who must cope with violence, abuse and political corruption on a daily basis.”


IWOW: I Walk on Water by Khalik Allah (United States)

“The Jury awards the Special Jury Prize to a film that tenderly depicts and observes an intense neighbourhood in New York City. It’s an intimate and transcendent portrait of events both inside and outside the frame, of the people being filmed and the person filming. A film that feels like a very long and powerful dub session with a superb echo chamber.”

The jury for the International Feature Competition was composed of Giona A. Nazzaro (artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival and member of the Italian Union of Film critics), Aonan Yang (producer, filmmaker and co-founder of GreenGround Productions and CineGround Media) and Shengze Zhu (filmmaker and producer).


Inconvenient Indian by Michelle Latimer (Canada)

“The Grand Prize goes to a film that takes an unapologetically modern look at history, in which the director strikes a majestic balance between her subject and a bold art form. It is a film that acknowledges the countless stories that Indigenous artists have to tell.

A work with an innovative visual pace that brilliantly creates a symphony of thrilling voices. It is a film that extends a hand and calls us to take action, by asking us to examine our actions past, present and future.”

A special mention is given toThe Forbidden Reel by Ariel Nasr (Quebec).

“Exceptionally, we have decided to award a special mention to a film that underscores the critical importance of a country’s cultural heritage in the construction of its identity, as an act of resistance to extremist ideologies. The film is a breathtaking love letter to Afghanistan and its cinematic heritage, which was nearly lost forever.

By using priceless archival images that have survived an incredibly tumultuous history, the film is a testament to a fascinating story in which a community succeeded in preserving a fragile and important historical legacy.”


Prayer for a Lost Mitten by Jean-François Lesage (Quebec)

“In this Special Jury Prize-winning film, the director takes a delicate and poetic approach to the universal subject of love and belonging, using a daring artistic approach. It is a film built around the idea of loss, shot in soothing black and white, that restores energy and hope – a hope we tend to lose sight of in our crisis-ridden world.

It is a taut winter journey with a gentle, open and vulnerable point of view. With its incredibly flexible and generous sharing, this rare work inspires us to take a moment to reflect on life.”

NEW VISIONS AWARD presented by Post-Moderne and la Société civile des auteurs multimédia (SCAM)

No Ordinary Man by Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt (Quebec)

“The winning film in the New Visions competition challenges prejudices and conventional wisdom on questions of gender identity. Past, present, fiction and reality mingle, leading to the conclusion that how others see us is only as important as we make it. A powerful story of passion and self-acceptance. The use of a casting-call as a framing device proved to be an excellent way to give many transmen an opportunity to appear both in front of and behind the camera.

A documentary that tells a heartbreaking story as it revisits and celebrates the brilliant career of an unjustly forgotten musician. We are still amazed, touched and inspired by this riveting film.”

The National Feature Competition jury was composed of Anna Berthollet (international sales, Lightbox), Sofia Bohdanowicz (filmmaker) and Halima Ouardiri (filmmaker).


Clean With Me (After Dark) by Gabrielle Stemmer (France)

“Through an investigation that we watch unfold on-screen, the film echoes our own digital wanderings. It shines a light on the loneliness on both sides of the screen; it brings its form and subject into symbiosis; it is a feminist film that makes clever use of humour and absurdity to draw us deeper and deeper into a dark reality grounded in our societal choices.”

BEST NATIONAL SHORT OR MEDIUM-LENGTH FILM presented by Télé-Québec and SLA Location

Goodnight Goodnight by Mackenzie Reid Rostad (Quebec)

“A film that boasts expert audio and visual editing, touching and intimate cinematography that inspires the imagination, and an inventive narrative structure: a film that follows a scientific path to capture the memory of a love.”

The jury for the short and medium-length competitions was composed of Philippe U. del Drago (executive and artistic director of the Festival international du film sur l’art), Xi Feng (film editor) and Myriam Magassouba (director, writer and editor).

MAGNUS ISACSSON AWARD presented in collaboration with ARRQ, DOC Québec, Funambules Médias, Cinema Politica and Main Film

Inconvenient Indian by Michelle Latimer (Canada)

“For this film’s crucial insider’s perspective on important contemporary issues; for its masterful direction and authentic storytelling approach; for its innovative and audacious hybrid documentary form; for its important and necessary message and transformative power, that we witness in the stories being told and experience as audiences.”

A special mention is given to No Ordinary Man by Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt (Quebec).

“For a film that impressed us with its exquisite direction, its exceptional characters and its innovative approach and invitation to a public dialogue on issues of both contemporary and historical relevance”

The jury for the Magnus Isacsson Award was composed of Jocelyne Clarke (producer, filmmaker and editor), Nathalie Bibeau (DOC Québec), Thomas Waugh (Cinema Politica), Miryam Charles (Main Film), Anouk M. Renaud (Funambules Médias) and Garry Beitel (ARRQ).

PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD presented by the Canada Media Fund (NOUS | MADE)

Petite Fille by Sébastien Lifshitz (France)

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